Bell honors retiring faculty, staff members

by Laramie Knox

 

Mike Ladley

When asked how he felt about ending his teaching career at Bell, computer science teacher Mike Ladley said he is bittersweet about the four years he’s spent here.

“I wish I’d been out here 25 years ago,” he said.

Ladley, who began teaching in Cleburne initially, “stayed up late filling out the online application” the night he saw an opening at Bell for his desired position. He had been working in Weatherford for 22 years at that point.

“My friends had so many negative things to say [about Bell],” Ladley said. “But I’d put this school against any school in Texas.”

Ladley is grateful for the “dedicated teachers” and passionate students, some of who threw him a surprise retirement party recently.

“I’m not speechless very often, but I was then,” Ladley said about the celebration his Computer Science 2 class had for him, complete with a guitar shaped cake to honor his music hobby.

After teaching for 33 years, Ladley will be staying in Weatherford to fix up old houses.

Teresa Baker

Teresa Baker has been a counselor at Bell for 10 years, but she had been here decades before, not knowing it would be her home in the future.

“I taught here for one semester 32 years ago,” Baker said. “I came back when I got my counseling certification.”

Baker, who taught English for 21 years, is thankful for the different environment of being a counselor.

“Since [the counselors] are placed alphabetically, we get to see the transition over three years,” she said.

Baker will continue to work with kids after retiring, as she plans to volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). This way she will be a counselor for youth removed from foster care system and in need of homes.

As she will be assigned only a couple of cases as a CASA instead of the hundreds she works with at Bell, she will be a personal voice for children who need one.

“You get to be the one steady piece of their life,” Baker said.

While Baker is sad to leave the “family” of the front office, she is excited to begin her new job and spend time with her granddaughters.

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Q&A with Ingrid Hajek, cosmetology teacher

Cosmetology is one of several career fields students can pursue at the Buinger Career and Technical Education Academy. Instructor Ingrid Hajek answered the following questions about her background and her class.

Q-  When did you decide to become a cosmetologist?

A- I decided to become a cosmetologist in 1991. Upon moving to the United States, I had noticed that the market for electronics industry, of which I had previously specialized in was not doing well in the U.S. Cosmetology was my backup plan.

Q- Why are you passionate about the field of cosmetology?

A- I have been working in this this field for more than 25 years. I felt that it was time for me to share my knowledge that I have gained over the years. Therefore, I decided to go back to school and work on my instructor’s license.

Q- Can you describe a typical day at work?

A- My day starts at 7:30 a.m. when my students and I eat breakfast. When we come back to class, it is time for presentations of virtual demonstrations and tapes that give my students a better understanding of the material being taught for the day. After presentations, it’s time to get into the lab, starting with me demonstrating the application the students will be attempting for the day. Next my students will attempt to recreate what they have just learned. Finally, once all practical applications are complete, the students will change out of their scrubs and get ready for their other classes.

Q-  What type of equipment is used in class?

A- The equipment used in our class consists of blow dryers, curling irons, flat iron shears, combs, hood dryers, and microdermabrasion machines, waxing machines, along with many more.

Q- What skills do you cover when teaching your class?

A- The skills covered in my class include client consultation, manicures, pedicures, hair styling, hair cutting, hair coloring, perming, relaxers, highlighting, facial and body waxing and much more!

Q- When a student is in need of help, how do you assist them?

A- Throughout my lectures I frequently give my students stopping points. Even if my students make a mistake, I will personally take the student back through the steps while checking their work.

Q- What new trends do your students like to recreate?

A- One of the new trends and styles the students like to create involves hair color and makeup. The Balyage hair coloring technique is the most popular as of right now along with fun colors.

Q- How do your students feel about the class?

A- I believe that my students feel very good about my class. I try to provide a safe environment so that the student can move at their individual pace and not be intimidated by the strengths or weaknesses of other students.

Q- Having been in the district for almost a year, how do you feel your students are doing in your class?

A- So far, last year there were 13 of the 18 students that obtained their cosmetology licenses. Next year I plan on having all that are eligible pass the test and become licensed.

Q- Is there any other information we should know about you?

A- I feel very passionate about my students and my program. I do my best to give 100 percent to my students. I encourage even the most insecure students to find their niche. I am extremely fortunate to witness the growth and confidence that built during the months I have to work with my students.

Newman ready for the next level: college softball

by Sophie Rodgers

“Softball is not only a sport but a lifestyle, something I look forward to everyday because it gives me the opportunity to prove myself and do something with some of my closest friends.”

Senior Peyton Newman has been on the varsity softball team for four years and has made an incredible impact each time she steps on the field. Newman is one of the many athletes who are having the opportunity to play the sport they love at the next level.

“I choose to play at East Central University because I absolutely fell in love with it the moment I stepped on the campus,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else for the next four years.”

Newman had many options when it came to which school she was deciding to play at. However, this one had everything she was looking for.

“I love the girls and the coaches too,” Newman said. “Also, being able to do my desired major of nursing was very important to me.”

When it comes to this sport, Newman has taken many different things away from it in just the past few years—a leadership role and growth mentally and physically.

“Being a leader is tough, but a lot of fun in the same way,” she said. “It is interesting because you have to figure out your teammates not just in a ‘friend way’ but a way where you can push them to be a better ball player, too.”

With her selfless demeanor, Newman believed it was key to put the team first in everything she did and be there for them no matter what.

“Softball has built me into the person I am today in so many ways,” she said.

Many emotions arise with her when it comes to thinking about the past four years on varsity because that is where she grew the most. She believes she is very blessed to have had all the amazing opportunities and experiences through the sport.

“Given the chance to play at the next level is so exciting and is definitely a privilege,” Newman said. “It makes me realize all my hard work has paid off, but I also have so much more room to grow as a player and person.” 

‘Mentality change’ leads baseball team to playoffs

by Sophie Rodgers

After years of not making it out of district, senior Michael Bernhardt and team got the opportunity to be a part of the high school baseball playoffs.

“I have played baseball for as long as I can remember, select baseball for 11 years and varsity here for four,” he said.

As the starting short stop and one of the eight seniors, he plays a big part in the team’s leadership role.

“This year we have had a huge mentality change and everyone plays as a team,” he said. “We have bought into what coach’s game plan is and we are all willing to do what coach asks of us.”

A lot of the team has been playing together since they were younger, so everyone is very close. As a team, they trust each other to make good plays and that is one of the reasons why they are so successful.

Bernhardt is a very selfless player who is constantly putting the team first in everything that he does.

“Being a senior, I am really excited to finally experience the playoffs after three straight years of not making it,” he said.

With this year’s team, energy was one of the most important assets. It helped them pull off big wins like beating Southlake Carroll at the end of district play and winning the first round of playoffs over McKinney Boyd.

“Our dugout is always enthusiastic and we always play with a special type of energy,” he said.

Bernhardt is excited to see what the future holds for this team and himself after the school year and season ends.

Girls gymnastics team takes title for 21st time

by Sophie Rodgers

For L.D. Bell Gymnastics, winning is something that happens often.

This year both the girls and boys teams placed first in the district meet.

At the regional meet, the girls placed first and the boys placed second. And at state, the girls team won the state championship, their 21st.

Each team had certain athletes who placed high individually at the state meet to contribute to the team’s final place.

For the girls, senior Kyleigh Prather stood out winning vault, placing in multiple different events, and winning third in the all-around.

Also contributing to the team win, senior Kaitlin Hornsby placed second on beam and seventh in the all-around, sophomore Analise Gonzales placed 10th on vault, and junior Mayson Hicks also placed on beam and floor.

The boys team also competed very strongly at the state meet, coming in ninth. Senior Adam Tice made a big impact for the boys’ team, placing second on floor and vault.

Senior works to increase youth voter turnout

by Laramie Knox

As HEB ISD is in the midst of a local and bond election, many students are unaware of their influence through voting. Senior Janae Stegall is trying to change that.

“Voting is super simple,” Stegall said. “The resources are there.”

Stegall, an IB student and vice president of Senior Class Council, has been interning for Jim Griffin, the mayor of Bedford, since last August. As a part of her internship, she gets to run social media and act as a “youth voice” for the city.

“I’ve helped them see that the youth does care,” Stegall said.

Through her internship Janae has also gotten to “meet former council members, network, and campaign next to polling stations,” all of which have helped her become politically informed but break out of her shell and become less shy.

Stegall was a member of the “Vote Yes” board for the 2018 HEB bond election. She also won the regional round and placed 4th in the state “Citizen Bee,” a competition that tests your knowledge of the government.

“I want to be politically informed,” she said. “We’re going to be the leaders of tomorrow, so we need to know what’s going on today.”

On average, voter turnout is around 6 percent of local elections, even though these elections have the biggest impact on your life. To encourage Bell students to vote, Stegall has advertised for local election early voting on her own personal social media and hopes that those who have just turned 18 know the importance of voter turnout.

“[Voting] is definitely worth it,” she said. “It’s so easy to complain about government unless you actively vote.”

Stegall plans to work with Griffin for the rest of the summer and hopes to pursue a career in a political field one day. This fall she will be attending UT Austin to double major in political science and U.S. history in order to complete this goal.

Voters approve $199 million in district improvements

by Laramie Knox

With new neighborhoods opening and expansion in established areas, HEB is projected to grow by over 2,600 students by 2028. To make room for all the students coming into the school district, voters passed a $199 million dollar bond to accommodate the space needed in lower level schools.

“This bond has been in place for four years,” said assistant superintendent of secondary administration Joe Harrington. “If it doesn’t go through, then [the elementary and junior high schools] turn into portable farms.”

The last HEB bond proposed was in 2011, and it’s most famous for expanding the Career and Technology Center into the Gene A. Buinger Career and Technical Education Academy that students attend specialized career classes for.

The 2011 bond was completed within the allotted schedule, and the school district expects the same for the upcoming construction.

With this bond, West Hurst Elementary will be closed down and turned into a “district facility” primarily used for special education classes. Two new elementary schools will be built in its replacement.

In the junior high schools, new classrooms and science labs will be added to each school that will add room for 225 students. The construction on Highway 183 calls for a change in Euless Junior High’s main entrance, and that side of the school will be soundproofed to ease the noise of the work outside.

Central Junior High will also undergo a cafeteria renovation and receive a new orchestra room, as students in the program have been walking outside to the FWE building next to KEYS to take this class for years.

“The CJH orchestra needs to be on the CJH campus,” Harrington said.

A modified speech and debate room has been home to Bell’s orchestra program for years, but Harrington claims that this issue was “just brought to [the school board’s] attention.”

$20 million is set aside for technology across the school districts, which will provide more portable devices such as laptops for student use, and give touchscreen laptops to teachers so they can be more mobile in the classroom instead of being confined to the whiteboard or document camera.

Now that the bond has passed, Interest and Sinking fund (I&S) taxes are set to increase by 1.263 depending on the price of your home. Those over the age of 65 are exempt from the tax raise.

Taxes in HEB are the lowest among neighboring districts, and they are proposed to stay that way for the next five years. All of the projects will begin construction in 2019 and should be completed by 2020 to ensure a speedy and effective construction of HEB’s infrastructure.

“You want to feel good about what your taxes are going through,” Harrington said.

Some community members wonder why the bond does not address construction or rebuilding needs to the high schools. According to hebisdbond.com, “the district has adequate capacity to accommodate growth at the high school level” based on current enrollment projections.

There is a rumor that core classes could be added to the Gene A. Buinger Career and Technical Education Academy if needed. The center currently houses an average of 500 students per period, and students who wish to attend more career specific courses may benefit from not having to be bussed to and from the major campuses.

After the last day of voting on May 5, polls showed that 71.27 percent of community members voted “for” the bond, according to hebisdbond.com. With majority community approval, the designs plan for the biggest additions, the new elementary schools and Euless Junior High reconstruction, will begin on June 18.

The first construction project, the addition to Central Junior High, is slotted to begin on Jan. 1, 2019, and all projects are expected to be completed by December 2020.

POETRY CORNER: Different

by Trajan D. Fields

The eyes are on

Me.

As I make my path

To that place my teacher told me to sit.

My Mommy

Told men that I was special,

Beautiful.

There’s a pretty girl in my class,

But even though I hope her eyes will meet with mine

They fall on my shortcomings.

Trapped in a chair with wheels,

That’s what they see in me.

There’s always my big brother

Who helps me get to class.

As he pushes me to the one room

Where I have friends that understand or don’t enough to call me a retard.

I’m slow,

But fast.

I can spell my name.

Like the other kids that pass by me

As they dare not speak to me even though I wave and say “Hello.”

I love my teachers,

Because they ask me how’s my day.

In that moment I fell

Normal.

Like Mommy,

I cry

Not on the outside but on the inside

Because I can’t play the games I watch others play

As they Laugh, and I sit and clap.

But I live and breathe

Like everyone else.

I have a dream,

It comes and goes but never changes.

I walk and read without

Anyone’s help

I Fly,

I’ll make the others want to be me,

Like I long to be them.

I play football and the crowd cheers

For me,

As I make the final touchdown.

Then I get the pretty girl.

But dreams are

For people who can make them possible.

I can do it.

They just won’t give me the chance to try.

I don’t want to cry

I’m a person

Not a prisoner.

I have a heart

Unlike those who don’t want me near them.

I’m Different

Or am I?

STAFF EDITORIAL: Know your social media rights and remember responsibilities

In today’s world where access to technology reigns supreme, there is no doubt that we are in the age of social media.  Platforms such as Snapchat or Twitter are outlets where we can connect with friends and discuss our ideas.

This has led to new questions being asked about First Amendment rights and what you are allowed to talk about and share on social media. So, what exactly are your rights on social media?

Technically, as long as it follows whatever guidelines laid out in the terms of service by the creators of a social media app, it’s generally OK. However, even though your post may be allowed, it may not save you from repercussions from other groups.

It is important to remember that any public post you make can be seen by anyone from teachers to the police.

Social media apps also manage posts in order to protect people from threats. If someone posted a picture on their Snapchat story with a caption reading, “don’t come to school tomorrow,” the platform will report it to the authorities once they see it. Twitter and Facebook will also hand out bans if someone has a threatening post or offensive profile pictures.

If thinking before you post is too difficult for you and you are on social media, at least make your account private and accept only people who are close to you. Don’t be surprised, though, if someone from your tight group reports you for posting something inappropriate or cyber bullying someone else, either.

Know what the laws are before you post as well. For example, it is a felony to even threaten to bring a gun on a school campus. Even if you were just crying wolf, you will still be in major trouble.

In all honesty, it is not hard to keep yourself safe on social media. It only takes one thing: common sense. If you think that it’s a good idea to post a picture of you holding a weapon and threatening your school, you don’t need to be on social media.

Remember, anything you post publicly can be seen by anybody, including police officers, teachers, officials, and other students.

You have the right to speak your mind on social media. Your school cannot punish you just because it doesn’t agree. However, that doesn’t necessarily protect you from the repercussions that may occur as a result of what you said.

H-E-B ISD provides parenting workshops

By Laramie KnoxEditor-in-chief

Licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP) Julia Harris has been working for the past three years to help provide parenting resources to the suburbs of HEB that used to only be available in downtown Fort Worth.

“We didn’t have anything out here,” Harris said. “There were resources available, but parents don’t want to drive all the way to Fort Worth after work when they need help.”

After working with the Parenting Center in Fort Worth, Harris and the other LSSPs of the school district have provided free parenting workshops, where they give methods for difficult topics such as “Managing Temper Tantrums and Time Outs” for elementary school students and “Communicating With Your Teen” for junior high and high school students.

While parenting is different for each family, the tools provided at these workshops are universal to all styles.

When it comes to discipline, “it’s all about changing your verbiage,” Harris said. “Saying ‘when you clean your room’ instead of ‘if you clean your room’ makes children more complacent.”

These tips are easy to implement in any household and have been helpful to all families in the district.

“It’s mostly single moms that come,” Harris said. “But we usually have 20 to 25 parents show, which is a good turn out.”

Harris has said that the parents attending these workshops have developed close relationships with one another, and often share parenting tips of their own.

The workshops provided are flexible to the changing times of technology. Within the past year, a class called “Preteens in the Wireless Age” has begun, in which parents learn about the dangers of technology that young adults have access to.

Harris said many LSSPs agree that “kids don’t know how to interact socially” due to an early introduction of screens, so future workshops will be focused on technology and how manage screen exposure at younger ages.

In discussing new issues like technology, Harris has also been talking about parenting children with ADHD.

“When we test kids for disabilities, it’s usually behavioral problems that come up,” Harris said. “We teach parents how to handle hyper-active behavior.”

In addition to behavioral issues, Harris would like to discuss more social issues in the future such as sexual education and dating.

Four years ago, these issues were discussed at an intense expo held at the First Baptist Church in Hurst.

“We used to bring in female prisoners and have them tell their stories,” Harris said.  “We didn’t even give them a topic, just let them speak freely.”

While these expos for teenagers no longer happen, Harris is hoping that these parenting workshops help out the parents in the community with their relationships with their teens.

“Parents often want to treat their children as friends, but there is a hierarchy in a family.”

Harris hopes that teens will encourage their parents to go to these workshops, because in the long run they benefit the entire household.

The most recent workshop, “Parenting a Child with ADHD,” was held Feb. 13 at Harrison Lane Elementary.